Bath salts drugs should not be confused with Epsom salts, which people use in their bathwater. Rather, bath salts are dangerous manmade drugs. Teens, college students, and young adults commonly use bath salts at clubs and raves, because they enhance energy and alertness. Moreover, they can create feelings of euphoria and enhanced sociability and sex drive. A 2015 study of US teenagers found that one in 100 high school seniors used bath salts. Furthermore, a fifth of those who tried the drug became frequent users.
Bath salts are chemically produced drugs that contain synthetic cathinones. This stimulant chemical occurs naturally in the khat plant, which grows in East Africa and Arabia. Cathinones are similar to methamphetamine and MDMA (Ecstasy) in the way they affect the brain. Moreover, synthetic cathinones can be much stronger than these drugs. For example, 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), a common cathinone found in bath salts, is 10 times stronger than cocaine. Therefore, bath salts can be dangerous and even deadly.
Bath salts are usually sold as white or brown crystal-like powder. They can be swallowed, snorted, inhaled, or injected. Bath salts abuse creates severe intoxication. Effects of bath salts include agitation, delirium, violent behavior, paranoia, panic attacks, hallucinations, delusions, and suicidal tendencies. In addition, physical symptoms include nausea and vomiting, nosebleeds, dehydration, increased heart rate, chest pain, seizures, and kidney failure.
The Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 banned MDPV, mephedrone, and other bath salts ingredients. Consequently, drug manufacturers continue to develop new versions of bath salts that use equally toxic ingredients that are not yet illegal.
Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse